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Friday, January 15, 2016

MLK Day: Kingsport churches gathering for Sunday joint service



KINGSPORT — People of all faiths are invited to attend a special prayer service at First Baptist Church on Sunday to show the diversity of our community and to stress the importance of coming together, especially on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The hour-long service will begin at 5 p.m. in the sanctuary and will include communion, prayers, songs and some scripture reading, said Pastor Marvin Cameron.

“All we’re going to do is have a  simple prayer service, sing some songs and just be together,” Cameron said. “Then we’ll have some fellowship time in our fellowship hall after that.”

Last June, after the tragic church shooting in Charleston, S.C., the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Kingsport — Perry Stuckey — brought a group of churches together to pray for the victims and to show the unity of the community.

Sunday’s service will be a continuation of last year’s joint gathering. All of the churches around Church Circle have been invited to the event, along with St. Dominic Catholic Church and the African-American churches of Central Baptist, Shiloh Baptist, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, Bethel AME Zion and Fort Robinson, Stuckey said.

“We want to demonstrate that we have a beautiful city, that we can showcase the diversity of this city and what it’s about,” Stuckey said. “I think it would be important to have our churches come together and be a catalyst example to what individual who care deeply about one another and what that means and have a joint prayer service.

The intent behind the service is to bring the churches, the races and everyone together and showcase the diversity of what brothers and sisters in Christ do with one another, Stuckey added.

Sunday’s service will not include a sermon from any particular pastor, and the singing will be done with a joint choir of members from the various churches. Mayor John Clark and City Manager Jeff Fleming are scheduled to deliver a short greeting to the community.

Cameron said the churches are aiming to have the service done in about an hour and will include a couple of brief videos of Dr. King, highlighting some of his greatest speeches.

“I think it heightens the fact that we need each other. Being together and praying together is certainly beneficial for all of us and it strengthens our community,” Cameron said.

Stuckey, who believes the turnout for Sunday’s service will be big, said he would like to see the churches do similar events at least twice a year in the future.

“My suggestion is we continue this,” Stuckey said. “We’ve got to have love for one another and we have to demonstrate this and be united together.”